How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

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SilentDawning
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How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by SilentDawning » 22 Nov 2011, 18:58

We've seen it time and time again....people develop concerns with history, doctrine, culture, and this affects their commitment. Then a priesthood leader makes inquiries to the person -- either as part of a regular interview, or as a proactive effort (usually the former). In good faith, people share what they believe -- and then find themselves denied privileges unless they do something like pay some tithing for a while, give a yes or no answer, a statement of literal belief.

So, this begs the question -- just how much should one share with their priesthood leaders about their doubts, concerns or other contrarion ideas about the Church?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Brown
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by Brown » 22 Nov 2011, 19:44

Simple answer from me - absolutely nothing.

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wayfarer
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by wayfarer » 22 Nov 2011, 19:57

Brown wrote:Simple answer from me - absolutely nothing.
+1 nichts, nada, nil, nothing.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 22 Nov 2011, 21:30

What the person is willing to share, knowing full well the potential consequences of doing so.

I share a lot of things, but I have the social capital and the "presentation ability" to do so without causing much concern - and I do so selectively and appropriately to the situation. I've spent a lifetime learning how to do that. I couldn't do it in my youth or early adulthood, but I've learned how to do it now.

I don't think there are absolute, universal answers for most things - and this is one of them.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 23 Nov 2011, 00:03

Use the spirit of discernment. Somewhere between nil and all is the right number, based on trust. Trust comes from experience. There are some bishops who are amazing when you talk with them about issues and can truly help you. Then there are the 99%. ;)

Sorry to be cynical, but if they could truly empathize with your doubts, they probably wouldn't be bishops, right? If they are more administrator than therapist, I would not say much to them.

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SilentDawning
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Nov 2011, 05:21

hawkgrrrl wrote:Use the spirit of discernment. Somewhere between nil and all is the right number, based on trust. Trust comes from experience. There are some bishops who are amazing when you talk with them about issues and can truly help you. Then there are the 99%. ;)

Sorry to be cynical, but if they could truly empathize with your doubts, they probably wouldn't be bishops, right? If they are more administrator than therapist, I would not say much to them.
I don't know. As I've gotten older and been kicked around by life, I tend not to be "judgmental" of anyone unless they've clearly committed an act of dishonesty AND I'm in a position to judge (which seems to happen only in my role as a father or college professor on academic integrity issues right now). And even then, it's only after a lot of thought and angle-consideration.

But if I was in a position to judge, like a Bishop, if someone came to my doubting their testimony, but showing support of his family in the Church, attending at least once or maybe twice a month, and wanting to participate in an ordinance almost immediately, I"d consider the potential for participation in the ordinance to help strengthen testimony because "In the ordinances of the gospel, the power of God is manifest". I'd also consider the potential that denying the person could have on hurting his or her already fragile commitment, as well as the impact on future generations if this heavy-handed judgment pushes him off the rails.

Maybe I'm too nice, or just naive...but after life has run over you a few times....it seems prudent to be a little nicer than you think should be. Some of the tails people tell about their priesthood leaders I find rather unsettling. They simply end up alienating people....
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Nov 2011, 07:59

after life has run over you a few times


For some people, that doesn't happen until they become Bishops - and, unfortunately, sometimes not even then, solely because they don't allow the calling to do part of what I believe it is intended to do.

Seriously, that is one of the difficulties of calling Bishops. They have to be able to spend the time and emotional capital necessary for the calling, and many who can do that haven't been "run over by life a few times".

That often is the single most compelling difference I have seen in empathetic leadership and hardline leadership - the existence of beat-downs in their lives. Those who have never had it happen can have a VERY difficult time understanding those who struggle.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by Roy » 23 Nov 2011, 09:42

Ray Degraw wrote:What the person is willing to share, knowing full well the potential consequences of doing so.
For me, it is the prospect of potential consequences that has me concerned. The church is not very well equipped to deal with doubt. I understand the unofficial rule to be that doubt is ok as long as you keep it to yourself. Now it would seem that confession to your bishop is not a breach of the keep it to yourself rule, but it seems like the prospect of getting put on the (hypothetical) apostasy watch list is at least as likely as getting a listening and understanding ear. Why take the risk? The risk reward ratio just seems out of whack.

I guess what I’m hearing from you is, “Go ahead and share whatever, as long as your membership standing in the church (official or otherwise) isn’t very important to you.” Would you care to clarify?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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cwald
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by cwald » 23 Nov 2011, 09:57

Well, I believe for the most part the Mormon people are true, but the church is not. Therefore, since most of the leaders are working for an organization that is "not true" and concerned about self survival, even at the expense of some individuals..... I would not trust many church leaders with my concerns and doubts, even though I believe most of them are decent folk and do care and love the people they serve.

I'm not sure I will stamp the "nil" card just yet, but, yeah, I'm pretty close to that end of the spectrum.

"the Mormon people are true, but the church is not." What do you think about that SD? ;)
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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wayfarer
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Re: How much should be shared with priesthood leaders?

Post by wayfarer » 23 Nov 2011, 10:04

SilentDawning wrote:In good faith, people share what they believe -- and then find themselves denied privileges unless they do something like pay some tithing for a while, give a yes or no answer, a statement of literal belief.

So, this begs the question -- just how much should one share with their priesthood leaders about their doubts, concerns or other contrarion ideas about the Church?
I answered this thread above with the word 'nothing' in multiple languages. I'm quite serious.

The inherent problem is that the BP is the 'judge in israel', not a spiritual counselor. When you have a major sin to confess, then the right thing to do as part of the 'repentence' process is talk to the BP, with the likely prospect that Church Discipline will follow. The BP does not forgive sins, but rather, lays out the punishment path so that you have adequately 'repented' of those sins.

In courts of justice, one has a counselor that advocates for you and advises you of what you can do. In the Church system, your advisor, the BP or SP, is the investigator, prosecutor, judge, and executioner, and you throw yourself at his mercy when you talk to him. That may be appropriate if you don't care about the outcome, but if you do, it's not a very merciful system, and does not allow for 'advice' without consequence.

So, in the scenario, you go to the BP or any other priesthood leader with an honest interest in sorting out disaffection or doubt. Sitting on his side of the table, he has to interpret what you're saying as 'confession' because you need to repent of something. The obvious major sin that involves 'doubt' is 'apostasy'. So the only tools he has to offer are the means to punish your apostasy and prevent you from contaminating his ward or branch. If your an MP holder, then it gets referred to the stake.

It doesn't have to be this way, but it often is. Remember, the BP and SP are "Judges in Israel", not spiritual counselors. If you have a sin to confess, want to be released from a calling, or need a TR interview, set an appointment with the BP. If you need spiritual advice on your doubts as to the authenticity of the church... well.... here we are... I'm really not sure there is another answer.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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